On Friday, Oct. 12th, 2018, the second joint networking event between the Columbia and Mount Sinai p30 EHS Core Centers was held at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center campus. The event was well attended by close to 60 researchers. The agenda centered around smaller discussion groups, focusing on four important topics that are part of the NIEHS 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. The groups included: The Microbiome, Co-Exposures, The Exposome, and Outreach, Communications and Engagement. The participants in each group brainstormed for about an hour, focusing on questions such as research gaps, the strengths of each Center/institution, datasets that are available, data analysis tools, and possible funding mechanisms. Everyone then reconvened for a quick summary by one member of each group, followed by a reception and social hour.
Our Project Coordinator, Luz Guel, presented our collaborative project “Team Science: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Engaging Schools in Citizen Science” in the Youth Education Session at the Air Sensors International Conference (ASIC) on Sept. 13th, 2018. ASIC brought together stakeholders from academia, government, communities, and commercial interests to promote and advance air pollution sensors, improve the data quality from these sensors, expand the pollutants measured, and foster community involvement in monitoring air quality. During the session, Luz shared how Team Science can be utilized as a replicable training model to empower urban educators and their students. Luz highlighted how NYC teachers and students collected and analyzed air quality around their school community using AirBeam monitoring devices and as a result gained an understanding of the interdependence of economic, environmental, public health and social justice factors around air quality. To read more about the conference and the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center click here.
The Pilot Projects Program is the engine that drives research that is relevant to our Center’s theme—Transdisciplinary Research in Early Environmental Exposures. This program has enabled Center Members to turn interesting new research ideas, perhaps sparked at a Research Group seminar, into fully developed research proposals with the goal of generating preliminary data for larger R01 applications (or K awards). Pilot grants enable junior faculty to access the Center’s cutting-edge core facilities and attract faculty from different departments into the Center to add environmental health to their research programs.
Pilot Project Program Application click here
Previously Funded Pilot Projects click here
Using evidence found in baby teeth, researchers from the Institute for Exposomic Research and the Mount Sinai Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures at the Icahn School of Medicine found that Zinc and copper metabolic cycles in baby teeth are linked to autism. The researchers used the teeth to reconstruct prenatal and early-life exposures to nutrient and toxic elements in healthy and autistic children. Results of the study were published online in Science Advances, a journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
This is the first study in the world to generate a 90 percent accurate fetal and early childhood biomarker of ASD using a longitudinal analysis of distinct metabolic pathways, and to replicate it in 4 independent study populations. The results of this research could produce a new diagnostic approach for ASD early in life before the disorder presents and catalyze new treatments and prevention strategies.
To read more about this study, read our Department of Environmental Medicine blog.
For the past year, NYC middle school teachers and their students have been collecting and analyzing air quality data from their neighborhoods using Air Beams as part of the “Citizen Science in NYC School Communities” project funded by the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute. On April 28th, 2018 the Mount Sinai CEC staff (Maida Galvez & Luz Guel), the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform, and NYCDOHMH, led a one-day symposium where the students and teachers presented their pollution prevention plans. The students presented and proposed innovative solutions to air pollution to community leaders, city agencies, and parents in hope of informing public health interventions that promote healthy communities.
The Honest Company has awarded The Institute for Exposomics Research at Mount Sinai $100,000 to fund two postdoctoral fellows conducting research in children’s environmental health. Click here to watch a video about the grant.
The grant recipients are Erik de Water, PhD, and Jeanette Stingone, PhD. Each fellow will receive $50,000 to fund their research programs. Dr. de Water will study the effects of maternal metal exposure on their children’s developing brains. Dr. Stingone will study the correlation between prenatal and early life exposures to environmental chemicals and early puberty, a risk factor for adult adverse health outcomes including breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. To learn more click here.
The Pilot Projects Program is the engine that drives research that is relevant to our Center’s theme—Transdisciplinary Research in Early Environmental Exposures. This program has enabled Center Members to turn interesting new research ideas, perhaps sparked at a Research Group seminar, into fully developed research proposals with the goal of generating preliminary data for larger R01 applications (or K awards). Pilot grants enable junior faculty to access the Center’s cutting-edge core facilities and attract faculty from different departments into the Center to add environmental health to their research programs. To read more about our pilot program please see below:
Pilot Project Program Application click here
Previously Funded Pilot Projects click here
Congratulations to Dr. Allie Sanders and Dr. Maria Rosa on receiving K99/R00 Awards! Dr. Sanders research study “Children’s Exposure to Metals, MicroRNAs and Biomarkers of Renal Health” aims to determine whether exposure to heavy metals early in life contributes to renal toxicity in children and whether miRNAs mediate metal nephrotoxicity. Continue reading
Congratulations to Dr. Allan Just who received an NIEHS Supplement for his study “Hourly Temperature Dynamics from Satellites and Risk of Cardiovascular Events.” This supplement proposes a new collaboration between the NIEHS-funded Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. This collaborative project will extend methods for estimating daily temperature at high resolution across large regions by utilizing additional NASA satellite measurements to generate hourly estimates of temperature. This more detailed temperature record can be used in health studies to further consider temperature dynamics (including rapid changes in temperature) as a stressor in both chronic and acute health outcomes.
P30 Center Member, Homero Harari, was an NIH Research Project Grant Program (R01) awardee for his study “Safe and Just Cleaners: Reducing exposure to toxic cleaning chemical products among low wage immigrant Latino community members.” Recent research has documented the health impacts of common cleaning chemicals, including skin and respiratory irritation and asthma, as well as potential reproductive effects and cancer. Nonetheless, the production and distribution of these products continues to expand. In response public health actions have aimed to reduce exposures through substituting use of environmentally safer products in public buildings and schools and encouraging development of certified environmentally safer product labels. While these initiatives have been successful at reaching certain groups of workers and consumers, low wage domestic and other cleaning workers have been largely left out due to factors including knowledge, awareness, cost and accessibility. The Safe and Just Cleaners/Limpieza Sana y Justa Project aims to reduce this environmental health disparity by documenting exposures to cleaning agents among cleaning workers in the Latino immigrant worker community in NYC, as part of a collaborative University-Community partnership. The project will collect survey data to document exposures, values, knowledge and attitudes about potential hazards and self-reported health problems associated with the use of chemicals in consumer cleaning products among immigrant Latino workers. The project will then identify and evaluate, qualitatively and quantitatively, the conditions that can result in inhalation and dermal exposures to these products among immigrant Latino domestic cleaning workers. These findings will be used to develop and implement a multilevel strategic campaign to reduce exposures among low-wage Latino immigrant communities through local and national partnerships. Embedding this campaign within a workers’ rights and social justice perspective provides an approach that educates people about safer alternatives while simultaneously pursuing broader programmatic and policy initiatives to directly address the multi-layered influences of cleaners’ and the general public’s actions towards cleaning chemicals.